Kevin Hanson's 2018 NFL Mock Draft- Updated: Friday, March 9th
|The Huddle Report tracks NFL Mock Draft Accuracy and EDSFootball's Kevin Hanson ranks 5th over the past five years. In addition, his 2015 NFL mock was the most accurate among the 113 tracked that year.|
Only days from the start of NFL Free Agency, free-agency moves next week will clearly impact how teams approach the NFL Draft next month. In other words, a lot of what is projected in this mock draft will potentially look much different in the next (and future) update(s).
With that said, here is a look at how the 2018 NFL Draft could play out:
1. Cleveland Browns (Draft History): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Loaded with draft picks and salary-cap space, new general manager John Dorsey has tremendous flexibility in how he will approach both free agency and the draft. Per spotrac, the Browns are the only team in the league with greater than $100 million in available salary-cap space. In addition, they have 10 picks in the first five rounds alone including two in the top four and four in the top 35.
In the past two decades since professional football returned to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns have started 28 different quarterbacks including DeShone Kizer, a second-round pick last season. The presence of a strong running back is one way to take pressure off a young quarterback and Penn State's Saquon Barkley has the tools to develop into the league's best -- early in his career.
More than anything, however, getting the quarterback decision right is the most important thing for this franchise. They can't continue to whiff like they have with previous first-rounders -- Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn, etc. While he has a long delivery and he needs to take better care of the football, Darnold has the prototypical tools to develop into a franchise-changing quarterback.
2. New York Giants (Draft History): Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Clearly on the back end of his career, Eli Manning seems to have the commitment of new general manager Dave Gettleman going into the 2018 season. As much as Manning's play may have regressed, a poor offensive line, lack of a running game and injuries to the team's top receivers all contribute to the struggles. Given that the Giants won't pick this high often, Manning's heir apparent could be in play here as well.
Given that, Barkley is widely-viewed as the best player in this year's draft class. An athletic freak at 230 pounds, Barkley put on a display at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month -- 4.40 forty, 29 bench press reps, 41-inch vertical, etc. -- and racked up 3,801 yards from scrimmage and 43 touchdowns in his past two seasons at Penn State.
Unlike most teams that typically pick this high, the Giants have a talented roster that won 11 games just two seasons ago. Adding a dynamic playmaker like Barkley along with making tweaks elsewhere, specifically the offensive line, the Giants could bounce back into playoff contention. Regardless of thoughts about running backs being devalued, Gettleman is only one year removed from using a high pick (eighth overall) on Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers.
- View Full 2018 NFL Mock Draft
2018 NFL Free Agency Rankings: Consensus Top 100 Overall- Updated: Wednesday, March 7th
The 2018 NFL free-agency period will begin unofficially on Monday, March 12th and teams will be able to officially sign free agents on Wednesday, March 14th at 4 PM ET.
Unlike last season when we ranked our top-100 NFL free agents, this year we decided it would be interesting to look a variety of sites to arrive at a consensus NFL free agency rankings.
Players designed with the franchise tag and restricted free agents (RFAs) have been excluded from these consensus rankings.
|Rank||Player||Pos.||Last Team||Total *||SBN||NFL||RW||ESPN||CBS|
|View full Consensus 2018 NFL Free Agency Rankings (Top 100)|
2018 NFL Scouting Combine ResultsThe on-field NFL Scouting Combine workouts occurred from March 2nd-5th and below are the results:
|Austin Allen||Arkansas||6'0"||210||9 5/8||30 5/8||4.81||29.5||112|
|Josh Allen||Wyoming||6'5"||237||10 1/8||33 1/4||4.75||33.5||119|
|J.T. Barrett||Ohio State||6'1"||224||9 7/8||32||4.7||30||108|
|Kurt Benkert||Virginia||6'3"||218||9 1/2||31||4.95||31||112|
|Sam Darnold||USC||6'3"||221||9 3/8||31||4.85||26.5||105|
|View full 2018 NFL Scouting Combine Results|